May. 8th, 2006

I finally saw Howl's Moving Castle the other night, and... honestly, I wasn't that impressed. It probably didn't help that I had read the book already, but my friends who were watching it with me hadn't read the book, and they weren't that impressed either.

It started out pretty good, then it went off into this war tangent, and then melodramatic love, and at one point there was time travel, I think, and it was just weird. Not really the cool kind of weird, either. And there were gratuitous airships. I'm an airship junkie, and these were cool, but I'm not quite sure why there were funky fish-like airships flying around bombing the crap out of everything. Well, I know WHY, but I'm not sure why the plot needed it. The war was mentioned VERY briefly with a "A neighboring nation's prince is missing and blames us! They're going to go to war!" line in a background conversation you could easily miss. It wasn't really necessary, and wasn't in the book, which was a lot more of a fairytale and character development thing.

I've come to suspect a lot of anime is about World War II, even when it's not. I think that's part of why Steamboy and Howl's Moving Castle both went into the "lots of people die, but not everyone, and not the main characters, hurrah!" style of happy ending. World War II in Japan was a lot different than WWII in the US. They're the only country that ever got nuked in war. (As opposed to all the ones nuked for testing) They lost, completely, and had their empire, their army, and a lot of other things taken away. And they were the aggressors, forced to admit their wrong. That's a lot different than the American experience. And makes a good reason for valuing narratives of survival amidst destruction, and that sort of thing. But even so, it's not always necessary, and can hurt the narrative. Like here. Or maybe that's just my American cultural bias talking. But I enjoyed all of Miyazaki's other movies I've seen. Well, I had to wonder "WHY do they always blow up the awesome source of ancient knowledge?" in one, but that's a failing in lots of fantasy.

Japan hasn't been involved in a war since. In the US, the defining wars are WWII, and Vietnam.
Okay, so I totally ganked this link from Kevin Drum's Blog, but I found it amusing. And I'm a sucker for noir stuff. It's an op-ed from the LA Times. You know how to add, don't you?

"You came to the right place, doll," I said. "I see you've got the first-quarter GDP report, along with the new compensation results." I'd been puzzling over these numbers all day, but what, I wondered, could this tall glass of ice water want with them?

"That's right," she purred. "I need to know why GDP is up 4.8%, the strongest quarter since 2003, yet real wages are falling." Yeah, I thought, you and everybody else who works for a living.

"Why the interest?" I shot back. She didn't look like a Democrat.

"I wish I could tell you. But I work for some powerful people" — now I knew she wasn't a Democrat — "and they'd be very upset if they even knew I was here."
Okay, anybody who doubted most of the leaders of the anti-abortion crusades are really anti-sex? How about this little tidbit of new lunacy?

"In the memo released by the FDA, Dr. Curtis Rosebraugh, an agency medical officer, wrote: "As an example, she [Woodcock] stated that we could not anticipate, or prevent extreme promiscuous behaviors such as the medication taking on an 'urban legend' status that would lead adolescents to form sex-based cults centered around the use of Plan B."

Rosebraugh indicated he found no reason to bar nonprescription sales of Plan B."

Mmmyep. Teenage sex cultists are calling for the morning after pill. Because, evidently, teenage sex cultists wouldn't use any of the other kinds of contraception available. Man, why didn't anybody tell me about these teenage sex cults a decade ago?

These people aren't against abortion, they're against contraception, sex ed, and programs that support new parents. They don't love children, they hate sex. They think sex is evil, bad, dirty, and sinful, and if a woman is enough of a slut to be having sex, then she should face the "consequences" (read: punishment) of pregnancy and STDs. If they really were at all interested in reducing the number of abortions, they'd be for sex ed and contraceptives that would make it unnecessary in the first place. Sweet monkeys.

And the obsession about kids seeing Janet Jackson's nipple and that kind of thing, I've never understood at all, really. What exactly is the good of trying to "protect" kids from finding out about sex? Is seeing naked people really going to scar kids forever somehow? I'd say probably not. What's more likely to scar kids for life and warp their views about sex and their bodies is guilt. The constant "Sex is bad! Your body is bad!" chorus has done more to fuck up more kids than any number of boobies at the Super Bowl or online.

It's just another bullshit scare to prevent people from worrying about REAL problems.

(More at Digby, Obsidian Wings, and tristero, where I stole the title of this post from.)
This comic in particular. Of course, with how erratically Sinfest's been updating, I check it once a month or so.



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